May 19

“The Demon” Serves in Heaven and Raises Hell

Presented by Commonwealth Lyric Theater Orchestra and Chorus PESVEBI Georgian Dance Ensemble
By Anton Rubenstein
Based on a poem by Mikhail Lermontov
Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Artistic/Stage Director: Alexander Prokhorov
Production Director and Stage Manager: Steven Kunis

May 18th and 20th, 2017 at 8pm
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
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By Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) In the world of Anton Rubenstein’s The Demon, the danger of Hell is ever-present, princesses are virtuous, princes are valorous, and Heaven is an ethereal step away. Aleksey Bogdanov is the titular Demon, a creature that informs the audience and the angel with whom he spars, Anna Cley, he has chosen freedom over God. In the course of the play, he also chooses Tamara (played with wide-eyed innocence by Zhanna Alkhazova) and upends her life. Continue reading

May 12

The Federation of Belligerent Writers Presents The Gauntlet of Belligerence

The Federation of Belligerent Writers Presents The Gauntlet of Belligerence
Rockwell Theatre in Somerville
Saturday, May 13th
Doors at 9:30pm, 21+
$13.50 online, $15 at the door.

Facebook Event

Promo by Gillian “Demoness Bixen” Daniels

(Somerville, MAThe Federation of Belligerent Writers is back at the Rockwell on Saturday, May 13th! I hope you’re ready to chant, dance, and throw things at the stage!

Who are we? FBW!
The Federation is a bracketed style, masked writing tournament. We started as a luchador wrestling-inspired contest at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester. Now we’re so much more. Want to come drink and party with us?

Here’s this months matches:
Match 1: Princess Consuela Bananahammock vs. Shithead the Clown!
The Disney-esque and sublime push-up princess goes head to head with a brand-new competitor, who definitely is not an evil hell clown.

Match 2: Demoness Bixen vs. Space Casey!
Yours truly, trying her best to be despicable and almost certainly failing while wearing demon horns, fights the spaciest, burger-shirt wearing man in the galaxy.

Match 3: Fumblebee vs. El Hermano del Semental!
A sweet, little, murderous bumblebee takes on a horse of a different color, specifically a brony.

Match 4: Amazing vs. Kevin, the FBW Intern!
Innocent, put-upon fangirl goes against innocent, put-upon intern. Who will out-awkward the other?

How does this work?
During each round, two competitors take the stage, one in the red corner, the other in the blue. Three words are chosen at random by MCs Cassie Tai Tortorici as Becky, a Starbucks-and-gin-swilling, foul-mouthed stage manager, and Ethan White as “El Locutor Fabulso,” also known as “That Guy.”

Competing writers have five minutes to write virtually anything in any style within the scope of their characters as long as they use said words. During the round, the audience is encouraged to throw balls at the stage and dance.

At the end of five minutes, each writer is asked to share what they’ve committed to paper, laptop, or memory. Then, the audience votes on who will advance and who will not.

Buy a drink, pull up a chair, and come decide their fate this Saturday

Queen’s Note:
We elected a thin-skinned bigot to the office of the President dead set on turning our “democracy” into a fascist, totalitarian oligarchy dominated by the 1%. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is more so.

Congressional “negotiators” released a spending bill that saves the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and National Public Radio until September at which time, the President and his impotent cronies may still cut arts funding. It is ever important to remain vigilant. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD

TCG has a list of things you can do to help.

#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #brownlivesmatter #yellowlivesmatter #lgbtqialivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #muslimlivesmatter #disabledlivesmatter #theatreartsmatter #NODAPL

May 12

“I, Snowflake” Attempts to Catch the World on Fire

Photo found on Anthem’s Facebook page.

Devised and presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Conceived, written and directed by Bryn Boice

May 11 – 14, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, Massachusetts
Anthem on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) I, Snowflake is an airing of grief. It’s a response to the triumph of a boldly and casually racist America that was always there, like groundwater nourishing the trees. In fragmented pieces—commuters loudly reacting to headlines on a train, a café of women discussing the importance of their diets and dates, a family circle miming eating—we are given a portrait of a moment in our shared history. And that moment is raw and tender as an exposed nerve.  Continue reading

May 03

Successful Marriage of Romantic Comedy Eras in “Figaro”

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Conducted by David Angus
Directed by Rosetta Cucci

April 28th – May 7th, 2017
John Hancock Hall
Back Bay Events Center
180 Berkley Street
Boston, MA 02116
BLO on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) A 1950’s-style screwball comedy proves its compatibility with a comic opera from 1786 in this brilliant production. It’s layered, creating the idea of a show-within-a-show as stage hands help along the action, feeling like Kiss Me Kate with Mozart as source material rather than Shakespeare. With the help of charming, self-aware direction from Rosetta Cucchi and conductor David Angus, the story of two servants who outwit the wandering eye of a less-than-noble nobleman feels universal, familiar, and luminescent.  Continue reading

Mar 28

“Dangerous Liaisons” is Deliciously Dark

Photo by Dan Busler Photography — with Sam DeSoto, Melanie Bacaling and Andrew Miller.

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music by Conrad Susa and Libretto by Philip Littell
Directed by Greg Smucker
Music direction by Brendon Shapiro
Based on the scandalous 18th century novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

March 24 – April 1, 2017
The Plaza Theatre at
The Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

Warning: Sexual content and statutory rape.

(Boston, MA) Sex, manipulation, treachery, and high society. There’s a reason the original French novel was mined for a cheesy ‘90’s film about rich, spoiled teenagers.  Continue reading

Mar 18

What a marvel: “Edward II”

(l to r) Edward II (Maurice Emmanuel Parent), Gaveston (Eddie Shields), and Lancaster (Nigel Gore) – Photo by Maggie Hall

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By Christopher Marlowe
Directed by David R. Gammons

February 22 – March 19, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
ASPBoston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

WARNING: Nudity, violence.

(I beg forgiveness from the cast and crew of Edward II! I was trapped on the west coast during the blizzard, and only returned last night. It was not possible to post Ms. Daniels’ review until then. My sincerest apologies, and best wishes for a closing weekend! – Kitty, the Queen Geek)

(Charlestown, MA)  This show is intense. I could feel my temples vibrate during intermission. The power and emotion has stayed with me for days. I cried during the show, afterward, and grew teary remembering it. I am not at all surprised the production has added more performances to its tight schedule. This is a melodrama realized with an expert, brutal hand. Continue reading

Jan 11

“Mirror” Immerses Audience in Both Moving Show and Modern Complexities of Womanhood

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Frauenliebe und –leben
Music by Robert Schumann
Text by Adelbert von Chamisso

From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Music by Dominick Argento
Text from the diaries of Virginia Woolf
Directed by Greg Smucker & Patricia-Maria Weinmann

January 6-8, 2017
Longy School of Music of Bard College
Cambridge, MA
Boston Collaborative Opera on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Two portraits of women, written over a century apart. The first is an idealized character looking to not only marry, but be subsumed by her husband’s identity in a happy, storybook life. In German, she sings of having no desire beyond being this man’s wife. She is the heroine of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life) from 1830, itself based on a series of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso. Two men filter the story of a fictional woman, a touching if pastel view of a girl coming of age. Carley DeFranco breathes life into this creature (also played by Susannah Thornton, Rhaea D’Aliesio, and Julia Cavallaro, depending on one’s tour of the Zabriskie House mansion where the show is staged) with a Disney-esque sweetness. Continue reading

Jan 03

Exploring BOC’s “Mirror: An Immersive Song Cycle Experience”

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music directed by Jean Anderson Collier, Patricia Au, Brendon Shapiro, Chelsea Whitaker
Stage directed by Patricia Weinmann, Greg Smucker

January 6-8, 2017
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall (directions at bottom of page)
Longy School of Music of Bard College
27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
BOC on Facebook
Twitter: @BostonOperaCollaborative

Preview by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) I love immersive theater when done well. I thought I’d take a moment to explore MIRROR, a one-weekend song cycle show based on Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben and Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. Continue reading

Dec 15

Perfectly Charming Air Ship “Pirates of Penzance”

Presented by The MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Produced and Directed by Emma Brown
Orchestra Directed by Johnnie Han

December 2-10, 2016
La Sala de Puerto Rico
Cambridge, MA
MITGSP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) What is happiness? “Steampunk pirate opera” is an excellent answer.

This year, the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players opted for a pleasing, energetic performance of one of the best operettas of all time. The warmth and enthusiasm on display is heartening. Continue reading

Oct 03

“Carmen” Triumphs, Seduces, and Saddens

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© T Charles Erickson Photography; Carmen (Jennifer Johnson Cano) scrawls “love” on the chest of solider Joseph Yonaitis.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera and San Francisco Opera
Conducted by David Angus
Production by Calixto Bieto
Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

September 23 – October 2, 2016
Boston Opera House
539 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
BLO on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) So, okay, say you know this girl, right? More of a “broad,” maybe—flirts with the boys but won’t take shit from them, never lies to appease some dude’s ego, takes lovers and throws them away with ease. Say she gets in a tough situation—but it’s hard to say what’s tough for her, really, she’s not from a great background. But she’s in this situation, right? And it’s either go to prison or go home at the end of a long work day at the cigarette factory. So she flirts some with the poor, idiot small town officer that has her captive. Naïve guy, sweet enough. Continue reading